Posts Tagged ‘Massage Therapy’

Marching Toward Therapeutic Irrelevance

June 29, 2010

By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCTMB:

From previous articles, I have been accused of being irrational and needing to do more homework. Seems I pushed too firmly on a few buttons. Homework will be forthcoming along with a softer touch. Once again, I will state that my purpose here is to provoke thought and constructive debate. I am not being critical of anyone or anything just for the sake of “stirring the pot.” It is not my intention to be negative or to create fear. I am sharing my view, in hopes of having a positive effect. Sadly, even the most constructive criticism or observation can be perceived as threatening to the “leadership,” who I know really do mean well. I know them. I love them. I am just questioning the outcomes that I see resulting from their actions that I feel are detrimental to those of us who take the word “therapy” seriously, or should I say, “to a deeper level.”

Actions and outcomes are much more meaningful to me than intentions and words. I am trying to defend and protect the rights of massage therapists and body workers to practice clinical, therapeutic massage and bodywork.

I stand in the river shouting for the sake of suffering humanity that desperately needs the benefits of skilled, specific, therapeutic touch from well-trained professionals with tears in my eyes as I believe the scope of practice, the necessary level of education and thus, the public’s access to the care they need and seek is being washed away.

Proper Training

In every state that has gained massage licensure, a sudden explosion in the number of schools has occurred. There has not been an adequate supply of trained massage teachers with years of successful practice experience, so these schools recruit needy therapists with minimal experience off the street, and put them into classrooms in many cases with little or no preparation. In many schools, one instructor is burdened with teaching an entire massage curriculum. There are few, if any requirements for instructors in massage schools to be trained and proficient in the core competencies of teaching.

The competency of the profession is eroding as a result. The national average pass rates have been dropping on the NCE over the past decade (down to 61 percent at last report). Is this the way to improve our image with either the public or the medical professions?

Research Without Education

I love research. Nothing wrong with better understanding what we do. “Evidence-based massage” is a new mantra. Like evidence-based medicine this will support orthodoxy, stifle innovation, and force providers to treat conditions, not people. We are counting on research to be our key to acceptance by the “integrative medicine” community. Yet there is no guarantee that when we have every single aspect of massage documented and validated by research, that they will embrace us. Especially when our entry-level of education and competency is laughable to them. It is not what we say we are, but what we can actually deliver, consistently, to the public that will put massage on the map as a profession.

The Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK) project had potential to be a positive force in our professional development. Instead it has become an instrument to effectively suppress clinical massage. Any therapeutic scope of practice that is left in our massage laws is being defined out of our scope by MTBOK. 

Losing the Future

The less we can do, the less valuable we will become in the health care system of the future. If we legislate and educate ourselves into therapeutic irrelevance, we will not have time to resurrect the full potential of massage therapy and will be passed by.

My colleagues, what do you want for your profession? Or do you care? If you do, make yourselves heard. I am trying to preserve our right to perform “therapy.” Where are my fellow educators? PC got your tongues?

Refer by: http://www.massagetoday.com

Neurohormonal Effects of Massage Therapy

June 7, 2010
Among the many benefits of massage therapy are those related to the body’s production and regulation of neurohormones. These are the hormones produced by the nervous system that affect an individual’s behavior and general well-being. It has long been suspected that massage therapy offers a number of mood enhancing benefits. Now scientific studies back this up. Research conducted at the TOUCH Research Institute at the University of Miami revealed that massage increases the availability of all neurohormones affecting brain chemistry.Massage tends to elevate the levels of dopamine, a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus. Dopamine influences fine motor activity like painting or playing a musical instrument. It affects intuition, inspiration, joy, and enthusiasm. Those lacking in dopamine will likely exhibit clumsiness, poor focus, and be easily distracted.

Massage can also raise the availability of serotonin, a neurohormone that regulates behavior in terms of emotions, acting to quell irritability and cravings for sex and food. Those low in serotonin often have difficulty sleeping and tend to suffer from depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Research has shown that massage can achieve a number of positive results. For example, a 15 minute seated massage can elevate epinephrine (adrenaline) levels by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. This can increase a person’s alertness. A slower, longer, deeper, and more rhythmic massage can, on the other hand, reduce epinephrine levels, creating a feeling of relaxation, and facilitating deep sleep.

Acupressure and trigger point therapy (applying pressure to tender muscle tissue to relieve pain and dysfunction) are further examples of massage techniques that provide a number of important benefits. These techniques create endorphins, which are compounds known to reduce pain and produce a sense of euphoria.

Oxytocin is another neurohormone produced by massage therapy. It supports feelings of attachment and can help during pregnancy, birthing, and lactation. Massage therapy has also been shown to reduce levels of Cortisol — the stress related neurohormone produced by the adrenal glands. Finally, by encouraging sleep, massage can increase the availability of growth hormones which promote cell division, and is involved in tissue repair, regeneration, and healing.

Reference by: http://www.healthy.net

Massage Therapy and Nature of the Work

May 17, 2010

Massage therapy is the practice of using touch to manipulate the soft-tissue muscles of the body. It is performed for a variety of reasons, including treating painful ailments, decompressing tired and overworked muscles, reducing stress, rehabilitating sports injuries, and promoting general health. Clients often seek massage for its medical benefit and for relaxation purposes, and there is a wide range of massage treatments available.

Massage therapists can specialize in more than 80 different types of massage, called modalities. Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, reflexology, acupressure, sports massage, and neuromuscular massage are just a few of the many approaches to massage therapy. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques. Some use exaggerated strokes ranging the length of a body part, while others use quick, percussion-like strokes with a cupped or closed hand. A massage can be as long as 2 hours or as short as 5 or 10 minutes. Usually, the type of massage given depends on the client’s needs and physical condition. For example, therapists may use special techniques for elderly clients that they would not use for athletes, and they would use approaches for clients with injuries that would not be appropriate for clients seeking relaxation. Also, some forms of massage are given solely to one type of client; for example, prenatal massage and infant massage are given to pregnant women and new mothers, respectively.

Massage therapists work by appointment. Before beginning a massage therapy session, therapists conduct an informal interview with the client to learn the person’s medical history and desired results from the massage. This interview gives therapists a chance to discuss which techniques could be beneficial to the client and which could be harmful. Because massage therapists tend to specialize in only a few areas of massage, customers will often be referred to or seek a therapist with a certain type of massage in mind. Based on the person’s goals, ailments, medical history, and stress-related or pain-related problem areas, a massage therapist will conclude whether a massage would be harmful and if not, move forward with the session. While giving the massage, therapists alter their approach or concentrate on areas of particular discomfort as necessary.

Many modalities of massage therapy use massage oils, lotions, or creams to massage and rub the client’s muscles. Most massage therapists, particularly those who are self-employed, supply their own table or chair, sheets, pillows, and body lotions or oils. Most modalities of massage require clients to be covered in a sheet or blanket and to be undressed or wear loose-fitting clothing. The therapist exposes only the body part being massaged. Some types of massage are done without oils or lotions and are performed with the client fully clothed.

Massage therapists must develop a rapport with their clients if repeat customers are to be secured. Because those who seek a therapist tend to make regular visits, developing a loyal clientele is an important part of becoming successful.

Work environment. Massage therapists work in an array of settings, both private and public: private offices, studios, hospitals, nursing homes, fitness centers, sports medicine facilities, airports, and shopping malls, for example. Some massage therapists also travel to clients’ homes or offices to provide a massage. It is common for full-time massage therapists to divide their time among several different settings, depending on the clients and locations scheduled.

Most massage therapists give massages in dimly lit settings. Using candles and/or incense is not uncommon. Ambient or other calm, soothing music is often played. The dim lighting, smells, and background noise are meant to put clients at ease. However, when visiting a client’s office, a massage therapist may not have those amenities. The working conditions depend heavily on a therapist’s location and what the client wants.

Because massage is physically demanding, massage therapists can succumb to injury if the proper technique is not used. Repetitive-motion problems and fatigue from standing for extended lengths of time are most common. These risks can be limited by the use of good techniques, proper spacing between sessions, exercise, and, in many cases, by the therapists themselves receiving a massage on a regular basis.

Because of the physical nature of the work and the time needed in between sessions, massage therapists typically work less than 40 hours per week. Most therapists who work 15 to 30 hours per week consider themselves to be full-time workers, because when time for travel, for setting up equipment, and for completing business functions, such as billing, are added, a massage therapist’s hours per week may very well be more than 40 hours. About 48 percent of all massage therapists worked part time and 19 percent had variable schedules in 2008.

Massage therapists apply pressure to relieve stress and promote  health.
Massage therapists apply pressure to relieve stress and promote health.

Reference by: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos295.htm

Anti aging and massage therapy

May 12, 2010

Ouch! Getting beaten to a pulp does not sound like anyone’s idea of relaxation. Afterward, however, it was well worth it. How is it possible one can end up looking 10 years older after a hard day? Stress. “Get thee to a massage therapist”, ordered my 40 year old friend who happens to look not a day older than 29.

Upon walking in to King & Queen spa on 2nd Street in Long Beach, it was exactly as I pictured…gossamer curtains separating each massage table, calming, music, and soothing aromatherapy. This is exactly what I needed after a long stressful week. After removing my clothes down to my underwear, I was suddenly acutely aware I was only a few feet away from the busy 2nd Street sidewalk with only a curtain separating us.

The knot in my back interrupted my modesty and reminded me why I was here. My massage therapist followed me with clean towel and quickly covered me up as I lay facedown. Good. Modest again. Weighing about 90 lbs, I am not sure how so much kneading power can come out of those tiny hands, but she managed to work the stress out of me with a full body massage, hands, feet, and head included, ending the session with hot stones and warm towels.

Skin reveals one’s age. It also reflects the foods one eats, along with allergies inherited and acquired. It reflects stress levels, excessive alcohol consumption (meant to combat those stress levels, but simply dries skin out even more!), smoking, ultraviolet light…The list of enemies to the youthful appearance is endless.

Massage therapy is one of many solutions to aging skin, as it sure does solve that stress and dry skin problem! Plus, it’s the best $30 you will ever spend!

Referenced by-http://www.examiner.com

Where to get a totally naked massage?

May 12, 2010

It is rare to find a therapeutic massage with no draping, however, there are places throughout the country where you can get a nude massage that is non-sexual. Before I go on, however, please keep in mind that this article is about therapeutic massage therapy only – no happy ending massage – no sexual services of any kind. If you are looking for a “massage” with a happy ending there are lots of places to go (just take your antibiotics first).

First, do not go to your local day spa and ask the massage therapist to do the massage without draping the first time you visit. It doesn’t matter if “you are hot”, if “you are a nudist”, or whatever. It is inappropriate to ask for a nude massage from a massage therapist that you are seeing for the first time. If you are a male seeing a female massage therapist she will automatically assume (usually correctly) that you just want to expose yourself for sexual gratification. If you are a female seeing a male he will worry about liability and false allocations from you at a later time. If you are seeing a therapist of the same sex you have a better chance of getting your naked massage, but you still should not ask during the first visit.

What you can do is broach the subject with your regular massage therapist. If you have visited the therapist multiple times, have always behaved professionally, and have good intentions, feel free to ask. Explain why you don’t like draping and ask if she can give you a therapeutic massage without draping. Most likely the answer will be no, however, that is not necessarily the case. Unfortunately, local and state laws sometimes prohibit massage without draping and some therapists feel that it is unethical even if it is legal. You need to respect the therapist’s wishes in this matter.

On the flip side there are a number of people who feel that nudity is no big deal and that you should be able to get a massage any way you wish. Several modalities of massage lend themselves to total nudity including Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage and Esalen massage. Lomi Lomi for example is traditionally done with the absolute minimal draping to begin with so if the transition to total nudity is not so drastic. Even if you cannot find your naked massage you may be happy with a lomi lomi massage as it is done without all of that tucking and tying that probably annoys you. It is also frequently done without breast covering as the ancient Hawaiian’s where not worried about covering their breast like us modern day Americans.

Now if you really want a nude massage and are totally upstanding, try a nudist resort. There are nudist resorts all over the country and they often offer massage therapy which is usually done nude (since you are naked anyway at the resort). Nudist resorts have strict guidelines to keep out the gawkers and trouble makers so make sure your intentions are wholesome. However, if you want to experience a wholesome naturist environment that may include nude swimming, sun tanning, and a massage that is the way to go. For more information on nudist resorts visit the American Association of Nude Recreation Web Site at www.aanr.com.

Neurohormonal Effects of Massage Therapy

May 5, 2010
Among the many benefits of massage therapy are those related to the body’s production and regulation of neurohormones. These are the hormones produced by the nervous system that affect an individual’s behavior and general well-being. It has long been suspected that massage therapy offers a number of mood enhancing benefits. Now scientific studies back this up. Research conducted at the TOUCH Research Institute at the University of Miami revealed that massage increases the availability of all neurohormones affecting brain chemistry.Massage tends to elevate the levels of dopamine, a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus. Dopamine influences fine motor activity like painting or playing a musical instrument. It affects intuition, inspiration, joy, and enthusiasm. Those lacking in dopamine will likely exhibit clumsiness, poor focus, and be easily distracted.

Massage can also raise the availability of serotonin, a neurohormone that regulates behavior in terms of emotions, acting to quell irritability and cravings for sex and food. Those low in serotonin often have difficulty sleeping and tend to suffer from depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Research has shown that massage can achieve a number of positive results. For example, a 15 minute seated massage can elevate epinephrine (adrenaline) levels by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. This can increase a person’s alertness. A slower, longer, deeper, and more rhythmic massage can, on the other hand, reduce epinephrine levels, creating a feeling of relaxation, and facilitating deep sleep.

Acupressure and trigger point therapy (applying pressure to tender muscle tissue to relieve pain and dysfunction) are further examples of massage techniques that provide a number of important benefits. These techniques create endorphins, which are compounds known to reduce pain and produce a sense of euphoria.

Oxytocin is another neurohormone produced by massage therapy. It supports feelings of attachment and can help during pregnancy, birthing, and lactation. Massage therapy has also been shown to reduce levels of Cortisol — the stress related neurohormone produced by the adrenal glands. Finally, by encouraging sleep, massage can increase the availability of growth hormones which promote cell division, and is involved in tissue repair, regeneration, and healing.

For more information on massage therapy, please contact Pacific College of Oriental Medicine at (800) 729-0941, or visit http://www.PacificCollege.edu

Massage Therapy Foundation Research News:

May 5, 2010

Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD Awarded the Ashley Montagu Award
“Every other year, the Canadian Touch Research Centre bestows the Ashley Montagu award to a recipient who, by its excellence and devotion, has exceptionally contributed to the world wide recognition of touch”, points out Dr Réal Gaboriault Ph.D., Director of the Canadian Touch Research Center.  ‘’Dr. Cherkin, researcher at the renowned Group Health Center for Health Studies, in Seattle (WA), has demonstrated the efficacy of massage therapy in back pain research and conducts research in prevention; he is a source of inspiration in the massage therapy research field and highlights the importance of touch in our world. ” concluded Dr Gaboriault.
Dr. Cherkin is a keynote presenter at the 2010 Highlighting Massage Therapy in CIM Research Conference

Reference By: http://www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/found_researchnews.html

Popular Types of Massage Therapy

April 29, 2010

There are well over 80 kinds of massage therapy available today. Of those that are most widely practiced in the massage industry, the most popular bodywork therapies include modalities like Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, acupressure, reflexology, sports massage and chair massage, among others.

Acupressure massage therapy, for example, is founded on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories and is not only used on people, but as a form of canine and equine massage as well. Using meridian therapy as a guide to depressing key points on the body to relieve tension and blockages; and to restore the flow of energy (Chi) to the body, this particular type of massage therapy is believed to restore balance and enhance natural-healing capabilities.

Another form of massage therapy, reflexology, is a type of massage that is also rooted in Oriental medicine. Specific areas (reflex zones) of the foot sole correlate to particular organs and organ systems in the body. It is believed that by applying pressure techniques to these reflex zones, that these corresponding organ systems can be stimulated toward healing. While this particular massage therapy is more commonly used on the feet, reflexology is also administered to the hands, face and body.

For the athlete, massage therapy like sports massage may be helpful as a preventive therapy and health maintenance regimen In addition to using Swedish massage techniques, sports massage incorporates a variety of other touch therapies including compression, cross-fiber therapy, hydrotherapy, and pressure point methods, among others. Like acupressure, sports massage therapy is also administered to animals.

Deep tissue massage therapy is one of the foundational bodywork therapies taught in almost all massage and healing arts schools today. As the name implies, this is a deep muscle therapy that works the connective tissues and muscles to relieve chronic pain and tension.

Chair massage therapy, frequently referred to as seated massage, is gaining leeway in airports, corporate functions, and in shopping malls. This particular bodywork is administered while the client is seated in a chair in an upright position.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in finding massage therapy programs, let professional training within fast-growing industries like natural healing cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore massage therapy near you.

Reffered by – http://www.holisticjunction.com


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